When people ask what I do, I confidently say I’m a writer. It’s only if they ask me what sort of writer, that I hesitate. You see, there are times when I’m a medical writer, and times when I’m a romance writer. Times when a racing pulse is the sign of a cardiovascular event. And times when it’s the sign of falling in love.
I wasn’t always a writer. I started working life as a pharmacist before quickly moving to the pharmaceutical industry and the medical affairs department (sadly not as racy as it sounds). There I spent my days writing about medicines. At night, to unwind, I’d read romance books and idly wonder to myself, what if I could write a romance? After all, writing was writing, wasn’t it? And I wasn’t afraid of the blank page (unless it was still blank an hour later). Surely all I needed was a storyline and hey presto, a book would materialise.
And so it started. By day I’d go to a modern, air conditioned office and write factual, scientific articles. By night, once the kids were in bed, I’d sneak up the stairs to our pokey study built into the loft and write a love story.
Umm, maybe I should say I tried to write a love story. It took a year, and about fifty rejections, before I realised that the only thing medical writing and romance writing had in common was the word writing. Medicines don’t talk, don’t even have personalities. Everything they do is meticulously researched and documented. People read about them not for entertainment but because they’re seeking certain information. And they expect that information up front, not at the end of a 90,000 word document (with several twists and turns on the way).
My night time romance writing required me to use my imagination, not references, to create lively, engaging characters people would want to read about. For pleasure. Oh and the story had to build, with a few surprises on the way, and an outcome that only became clear right at the end.
Medical writing, it seems, comes from the head. Romance writing, from the heart.
My nocturnal activities taught me something very important though. I loved writing romance. The people I wrote about at night stayed with me during the day; they talked to me on the journey to work, and in my lunch hour. They niggled away at me in boring meetings so much I’d have to jot down their thoughts. All fine, until the dreaded words, ‘Kathryn, what do you think?’ Err, I think the guy’s going to get his girl, once he stops being such a twit …
Eventually my night time efforts were rewarded with a contract, and my first published book. More books followed and a few years ago I made the bold (foolish? No, let’s stick with bold) move to leave pharma and become a self-employed writer. What sort of writer? Well, some days I’m a medical writer and some days I write romance. Some days a flutter in the chest is the sign of palpitations. Other days, it’s the reaction to a tall, dark, handsome stranger.
Kathryn Freeman celebrates the paperback release of her latest book, Too Damn Nice on 5 June. It is a must read for fans of Bridget Jones, about a flawed but loveable supermodel and a successful accountant with similarities to Bridget & Mark. Its tag line is, 'Nice boys don't kiss like that!' With an abundance of 5 star reviews, the book has been described by readers as 'Too Damn Good.'
Too Damn Nice